After Kansas: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement

By Gerard M. Nadal Published on August 16, 2022

So, we lost big in Kansas. 59% to 41% overall, and as the liberal media gleefully reported, the pro-choice vote often won in solidly Republican areas of the state. The 6,700 voters of Jefferson county voted 55% to 45% to sustain abortion. Just two years ago, Donald Trump won the county by 32% percentage points. Trump had won the whole state by 15%.

Any surprise there? There shouldn’t have been. As an article in The Washington Post noted, polling in 2018 showed that the two sides were even. The General Social Survey done every two years by the University of Chicago “shows broad agreement among Americans on both the left and the right that some access to abortion should be protected.”

The question itself forced the issue. “The overturning of Roe transformed the political debate from one of figuring out how readily available abortion should be to one over whether it should be available at all, shifting the political response.”

The Pro-Life Future

What did Kansas teach us about the future of the pro-life movement? What does it mean when supposedly conservative, pro-life Kansas votes in a landslide to keep abortion legal?

First, a few suggestions for a new generation of pro-life warriors. About 12 years ago I had occasion to be at a meeting with the newest generation of pro-life leaders. Their ages ranged from mid-20s to early 30s. They sat and laughed at the “failed” strategies of the first generation of pro-lifers — people in their grandparents’ generation.

They chuckled over the simplistic and primitive strategies of those who lobbied local and state politicians, who tried to elect pro-life congressmen and senators, and especially presidents. It was all so cute, and rustic, and naïve, and completely primitive.

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The Young Turks had better ideas. They were going to bring down Roe v. Wade all on their own. They didn’t need political strategy, lobbying, etc. They had technology. They had communications. They had 4-D sonograms. They had slick messaging. They had the youth of the nation!

All perfectly good stuff, sans the hubris that comes with youth. But also inadequate to the cause, especially now that Kansas has showed us how far we have to go.

Kansas Shows Us

Kansas shows us that we need it all. The septuagenarians and octogenarians have much wisdom and hard-won experience to share, now that we are fighting Roe v. Wade battles in every state. Fifty states, fifty different strategies.

Donald Trump demonstrated in 2016 that the presidency could be won on a much smaller budget, with a smaller and more focused team than Hillary Clinton’s behemoth political machine. I hope our side was paying attention. It was Kellyanne Conway who came aboard as campaign manager and told Trump that Hillary was perhaps the least likable presidential candidate in modern history.

All he had to do was to be the happy warrior.

All he had to do was to be the happy warrior.

All he had to do was to be the happy warrior.

(That’s written three times for emphasis.)

We need to be the happy warriors. We need to do teach-ins at our homes, churches, civic organizations, etc. We need to highlight the amazing work of pregnancy centers and group homes. We need to get our churches solidly lined up behind women in crisis pregnancies.

We need to get people to fall in love with the fetus. We need to get people to fall in love with the mothers. We need positive images that draw people in and not images of dismembered babies.

We need to be the happy warriors.

And Then

Then we need to lobby the politicians. We need to target unfavorable leaders in the primaries with candidates supportive of life. And most of all…

We need to adopt the discipline of thinking in terms of a ten-year plan with a five-year set of goals. It took 49.5 years to topple Roe, and let’s be honest here, that was largely Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees.

A disciplined strategy of a decade’s worth of teaching, advertising, organizing, and action is a drop in the bucket compared to half a century. And while we are at it, better coordination and cooperation between groups will take us from irregular militia and transform us into a well-oiled army of peaceful, happy warriors.

So, now we begin.


Dr. Gerard M. Nadal holds a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology and medical microbiology, and has taught for more than 20 years at St. John’s University and Manhattan College, and most recently served as Academic Dean at Holy Apostles College and seminary. He is President and CEO of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.

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